Flotsam and Jetsam

By Donal Mahoney

They’re usually poor people,
sometimes considered
the flotsam of society,
always in the way
at the grocery store,
at the post office.
They can’t find their money,
if they have any.
They’re never in a hurry.
They have nowhere to go
and you’re always in line
behind them, a busy man
with people to see,
appointments to keep,
deadlines to meet.
You try to be patient.
You know flotsam loiters
until life takes it away.

Later in retirement
you stand on a street corner
leaning on your cane
waiting for the light to change
but for you it never does.
You now have something
in common with flotsam.

In a year, maybe less,
you will be jetsam as
birds soar over your plot
four seasons of the year.
You won’t be aware
that on street corners
all over the world
the lights won’t change for
other folks still in a hurry,
those who don’t realize yet
flotsam and jetsam
at some point in time
have something in common.
They have nowhere to go.


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